One of the best ways to position yourself for a job, whether as a student or as a graduate, is to build your work experience. The more work experience you have, the stronger a candidate you’ll be when it comes to job searching and selection.

 Internships and Externships are one of the ways you can build such work experience because they provide an opportunity to add to your skillset, explore new career fields, navigate the business world, and gain professional work experience that you can include on your resume.

What is an Internship? 

This is the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification. It is a short-term position that provides students and graduates with the opportunity to gain skills and experience in a hands-on work environment. Internships are available in a wide variety of career fields, including business, technology, education, government, and nonprofit organizations.

Many internships are arranged through the school guidance counselors, university internship programs, or career coaches.

You can also apply directly to employers and set up your own internship experience.

 Internships can be remote or on-site, paid or unpaid depending on the organization. 

Internships typically are completed during a university semester or undertaken during the summer or school breaks. They can be full- or part-time, and interns may be able to receive course credit for interning.

What is an Externship?

This is a temporary training program in a workplace, especially one offered to students as part of a course of study. An externship is a way for participants to connect their career interests to the workplace, get firsthand experience, and learn how companies operate. Most externships are short-term, but there are some graduate programs, such as law school, that offer longer-term full-time externships.

As with internships, externships can be arranged through a university or set up directly by a participant.

Types of Externships:

Short-Term Externships provide an opportunity for students and recent graduates to get an overview of an occupation or a workplace without investing a significant amount of time. Participants may observe a workplace, sit in on meetings, and conduct informational interviews with employees.

The duration of an externship can range from a day to up to a few weeks. It’s similar to a job shadowing program, where participants spend a day or two with a professional to learn about a job and a career field.

Externships give participants exposure to a variety of workplaces to help them explore career interests and occupations. Short-term externships are usually unpaid.

Graduate Externships

Graduate-school programs also provide externship opportunities. These programs are similar to internships and are designed for participants to gain real-world work experience to supplement their education. They are longer-term, credit-bearing, full- or part-time, and may be paid or unpaid.

Difference between an Internship and an Externship

  1. An externship is typically an unpaid shadowing of a respected industry professional during which the extern will observe daily duties. While an internship is a paid or voluntary position with an organization for someone who is learning a profession and industry, typically spanning over a few months.
  2. Externships are shorter than an internship. The duration is usually from a day to about 8weeeks. This is one of the reasons why most students choose to do it during their short break.
  3. An internship gives the students a hands-on experience through the completion of tasks and responsibilities. An Externship, on the other hand, is focused on giving a student or an aspiring professional a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of a specific industry.
  4. An internship in your resume will show a recruiter that one has experience working in an industry, while an externship shows a recruiter that one has in-depth and behind-the-scenes knowledge of a specific profession.
  5. Both can be highlighted on your resume. 

Benefits of an Internship

  1. It allows you to explore a career field hands-on
  2. It enables you to immerse yourself in a workplace environment while applying yourself to tasks and projects.
  3. It enables you to apply the skills learned from your studies to responsibilities relevant to your industry of interest.
  4. It will help you expand your knowledge of what it is like to work inside a specific field while under the guidance of industry professionals.
  5. It will help you make career connections and strengthen your network.
  6. It will add value to your resume.


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